Will ROS and WINE still be steady be synchronized ?

Shachar Shemesh shachar at shemesh.biz
Fri Sep 21 00:57:32 CDT 2007

Dan Kegel wrote:
> We've gone over this about a dozen times.  Can we get back to
> programming Wine now (cleanly)?
> - Dan
Here's the law as I know it. As far as I know, it is quite identical in
the US and in Israel in that regard:
- Any trade secret (say, algorithm, interface, subbehavior) loses its
secret status the moment it is reversed engineered from a legally
obtained copy. Once it loses its secret status, it is obviously legal to
cleanly reimplemenet it.
- Any trade secret loses its status the moment it is public. As far as I
understand it, the MS source code that was leaked has no trade secret
protection any more, and it is entirely legal for a Wine hacker to look
at it in order to find out, for example, why a certain combination of
parameters, when sent to a certain function, causes Windows to do
something unexpected. It is NOT legal to copy code into Wine from it, as
that code is still copyrighted.
- Interfaces are not copy protectable. This means that it is, in
principle, legal to copy a file that only has interface definitions
(say, a header file) into Wine. We don't do it, and for a good reason
(why risk it for such a small gain), but it is legal.
- A programmer is only tainted if she signed an NDA or a non-compete.
Even then, it's a contractual dispute, not a criminal dispute, whether
she is allowed to work on Wine. Merely looking at publicly available
code does not taint a programmer (this is unlike the IBM BIOS case,
where they gave the BIOS source code under NDA, and thus retained trade
secret status for it).


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